Other People’s Souls

You know how you’ll be standing there in Walmart, trying to figure out if you should really spend money on good, sturdy toothbrush holder?  On the one hand, it’s not that much money, and it would be awfully nice to have a place (besides the toilet, I mean) for your kids to put all those toothbrushes.

On the other hand, with that money, you could buy a steak.  A big, lovely, juicy steak.  And when you look at a toothbrush holder in steak dollars, suddenly it doesn’t look like such a bargain.  So you put it back, and then when you go to the supermarket, you spend that money on a big, lovely, juice. . .  tray of chopmeat.  Because at heart, you are a cheapskate and will never change.

But still, the general principle is there:  how we spend our money shows what is important to us.  And, if you milk it really  hard, there is a spiritual dimension to this idea!



  1. Oddly enough, I’ve been looking for a good toothbrush holder lately. There are none out there that suit my desires. I found one that is designed for daycare centers (it holds 10 toothbrushes), but it did not look sturdy and cost over $40!!! Insane.

    • That’s a lot of steak.

      I finally got a glazed flowerpot at the Dollar Store. Holds all the toothbrushes and washes out easily. It’s been over a week and they haven’t broken it yet.

      • Target makes (and carries only in store, not online) a sturdy plastic TB holder that comes in a few bright colors. I bought two to cover the eight kids. They’ve held up for– a year, at least. I think longer. This is the orange one… http://tinyurl.com/target-toothbrush

        And I think I utterly neglected my manners last week, Simcha, but belated CONGRATULATIONS on the newest baby. I have nine as well. You do know how that happens, don’t you?? 🙂

  2. Souls, toothbrush holders…it’s all about order, anyway. I found a lovely plastic toothbrush holder that held 4 or 5 toothbrushes in their own tidy spots with no germs closer than 1/2 inch or so apart and was covered with a plastic cup to boot. Where, might you ask? Dollar Tree, of course! The plastic is so cheap that I don’t care if it breaks, and it probably won’t. Plus, we have new toothbrushes! And, the best part? I knew I couldn’t find a steak for $1!

  3. I tend to measure things in terms of milk. I could get a soap dish…or I could buy a gallon of milk. I could buy those pretty hair combs for myself…or I could buy TWO gallons of milk.

    Usually the milk wins.

    My husband doesn’t do this though, and thus doesn’t understand why it makes me shudder when he comes home with one doodad or another.

  4. I read a quote to once at the doctor’s office…”A dollar doesn’t seem like a lot when we are in a store but seems like an awful lot when we go to Church on Sunday.” We give more than a dollar of course but I often think when I’m in a grocery store how much more we will have left to put in the basket on sunday if I don’t get A or B.

  5. This is close to my heart, as I have been doing these kinds of mental calculations ever since I was able to cope with simple math to the point that drove everybody around me nuts.

    It is all so complicated. On the one hand, it is good to be thinking in this way (especially Kate the milk lady!). I once watched an Oprah eons ago where a woman made a huge salary and had nothing to show for it because she frittered it away on nothing substantial(lattes etc.), and the worst part was that she was totally unconscious of her spending habits.

    But then again, you can go nuts on the other end too.

    For example, I have often looked at the mountains of plastic crapola that our local dollar store hawks, and resisted the moaning of my three boys for some ridiculous doodad spied while on a targeted trip for masking tape.

    I am thinking, “This stuff is horrid, and is going to end up in a landfill in about three days. No wonder we make so much trash.” But, then I think, “You know, some Chinese family is desperately depending on my purchasing this stuff, so they can feed their kids.” So there is another side. Then I think, “If I don’t buy this (and about 100 other things) I could afford to send the middle one to day camp for a few days.”

    Thanks for this post.

  6. We keep the (seven) kids’ toothbrushes in a coffee mug. Mugs are durable, wash easily, and the thrift store puts the ugly ones on the “free” shelf all the time. We keep it in a cabinet (not on the counter). DH and I keep our toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet- we only have one bathroom and DO NOT want our toothbrushes touching the kids’ toothbrushes.

  7. When we were in Rome we used to go to I Suppli and get a suppli for a Euro. Then we started thinking of Euros as suppli tokens, and it became hard to justify buying anything else.

  8. People don’t realize that spending money on something just for “spending money” is soooo stupid. you can survive living modest and without any stuff and you can be happy. we should to think that with this money we can feed poor and sick people….

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